Dictionary.com defines "emote" as "to show or pretend emotion." The word "emoticon" is a portmanteau of "emote" and "icon," as in "to show or pretend emotion using a symbol." As flirting via text message has become de rigueur, some sacrifices have been made: grammar, salutations, sarcasm, irony, capitalization and other hallmarks of pleasant communication have all fallen on their swords so that we can be less inconvenienced. To keep things even more convenient, we've added short alpha/numeric/punctuation combinations so as to show digital emotion, rather than conveying an actual thought or idea. But, despite being able to conduct an entire relationship via SMS, dudes are generally not down with emoticons. Text Message Flirting For Beginners
On first blush, you'd guess that dudes don't like emoticons because they're too cute. And that makes sense. Think about the fellows you know who use emoticons. Do they like Disney, animation and/or Hello Kitty? I'll bet they do. While most guys don't object to adorable, they feel less-than-comfortable engaging in it unless it's for the purpose of hilariousness, like saying "Toodle-oo shnookems." Aside from such special cases, there's always some fear that another man will one day see it, not appreciate the context and purchase for you a Justin Bieber poster under the assumption that you're a 14-year-old girl.
Guys also are anti-emoticon because most of us aren't sure what they mean. While we may say "constituency" when we mean "consistency," us dudes like to think that we're straight-shooters when it comes to communication, and we're perfectly happy to admit that we have no idea what message ";p" actually sends. For all we know, it could obligate us to perform some sexual act that is designed purely to demean the donor of the maneuver. E-mail Flirtation: Are You Cheating?
The podcast The Gentleman's Club (with Tim Hammer and Caleb Bacon) communicates rules by which the hosts purport gentleman should live. One of these rules is that gentlemen shall not use emoticons. The one loophole they provide is that a gentleman may feel free to reply to an emoticon with an emoticon, making it similar to the military's rules engagement… do not emoticon until emoticoned upon. Sounds reasonable. This way, when one of a guy's buddies goes to change the language on his friend's mobile to Portuguese, he can rest easy that the emoticons were used in a purely defensive manner. Does Your Email Sign-Off Send Dates Running?